Trade events and workforce support initiatives, such as hiring and retaining employees, in the tourism sector will receive more than $9.3 million over the next two years as part of of the tourism recovery initiatives action plan.
“Since day one, our government has worked closely with industry leaders and businesses to understand the challenges they face and hear their recommendations on what they need for recovery,” said Melanie. Mark, Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “We are once again responding to the call to action from the recommendations of the Tourism Task Force by investing in business events and building support for the tourism workforce to revive the commercial activity.”
In response to the pandemic, the province is investing in restarting the business events and conferences sector, which has been one of the hardest hit and may be one of the last to recover. This sector makes an important contribution to the provincial economy.
The new Business Events and Conferences Restart Fund will provide up to $5 million this fiscal year and up to $3 million next year to help restart business travel. Funding will be provided to urban destination management organizations that were heavily involved in attracting and hosting business events, conferences and exhibitions prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organizations will be invited to submit proposals to access this funding.
This investment will generate economic activity by attracting international visitors, who tend to spend more and stay longer, and often travel to other smaller destinations once their business trip is over. The restart of commercial events also offers greater economic benefits for services that support the sector, such as food services, audiovisual companies, event rental companies, event planners and transport companies who will benefit. following the return of major conferences to the province.
“British Columbia’s meetings, conferences and events sector supports an important network of businesses across the province and is essential to the full rebuilding of our provincial economy,” said Ingrid Jarrett, President and CEO of British Columbia. Columbia Hotel Association. “The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, under the remarkable leadership of Minister Mark, has been an extraordinary advisory partner, demonstrating a sincere commitment to supporting the strategic recovery of our industry. This significant strategic investment will be key to restoring British Columbia’s international reputation as a premier meeting, conference and event destination.
To help address the serious challenges of recruiting and retaining workers in tourism and hospitality, the province is investing in human resource support for this sector. More than $1.3 million will fund dedicated human resources specialists in five tourism regions for two years. In partnership with the tourism industry human resources association, go2HR, these individuals will provide expert advice to tourism operators in each region, including workforce strategy, recruitment, onboarding , compensation, training, health and safety and the interpretation of employment legislation.
Over the next few weeks, go2HR will begin recruiting on Vancouver Island and in the tourist areas of Thompson Okanagan, northern British Columbia, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and the Kootenay Rockies. The model was developed based on the success of the Regional Tourism Human Resources Specialist position that was created by Destination BC in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region in 2021.
“Investing in tourism and hospitality human resource specialists will help our industry survive the pandemic and thrive,” said Krista Bax, CEO of go2HR. “We are pleased with the Government of British Columbia’s continued support for the recovery of the industry. Today, our industry has more jobs than workers. Creating a network of expert councils for tourism and hospitality employers will benefit employers and workers, help develop the diverse and inclusive tourism and hospitality workforce of tomorrow and will ensure that our industry remains a fundamental contributor to British Columbia’s economic strategy.
The Tourism Recovery Initiatives Action Plan is British Columbia’s comprehensive plan to support the survival, recovery and growth of the sector. This action plan is part of the government’s rapid response to the recommendations of the tourism task force that demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the recovery and resilience of tourism in British Columbia.
The Government’s collaborative work to support the tourism sector continues and increased support for landmark events, as well as tourism education and skills training will be announced soon.
Paul Nursey, CEO, Destination Greater Victoria –
“The business events sector provides vital core business for all segments of the visitor economy, attracting the most lucrative association, education and incentive customers, primarily in the low season. Because it’s so lucrative, it’s a highly competitive industry. This investment will bring BC back into the competitive market and produce very strong returns. Meetings and conferences are also catalytic in boosting priority economic sectors, such as marine ocean and clean technologies here in Greater Victoria by showcasing the work of our businesses and post-secondary institutions. We look forward to bidding and winning more than our fair share of conferences and events for Greater Victoria and supporting BC’s recovery.
Nancy Small, President, BC Destination Marketing Organization, and CEO, Tourism Richmond –
“British Columbia is known around the world for its incredible facilities and the diverse hospitality experiences our province offers for business events and meeting delegates. This investment from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport will go a long way in supporting this important part of the visitor economy, which has been essentially crippled by the effects of the pandemic. This additional funding will help DMOs do what we do best: bring these events to our province and help people get back to work in the industry they are so passionate about.
A backgrounder follows.